10 simple proofreading tips – How to stop typos ruining your content strategy
We have all heard the phrase ‘content is king’ and much of today’s online marketing success relies heavily on producing content and lots of it. However, with time also being at such a premium how can we ensure the content we produce is of the highest quality and typo free? I am the world’s worst for typos, my eyes just don’t see them (unless I am looking at someone else’s writing) but there are some simple tricks you can use to catch as many as possible.
1. One problem at a time
Your first read through will catch a lot of typos but possibly not all of them. However, on your second read through don’t overwhelm yourself looking for all the errors. Stick to one type i.e. spelling on the 2nd pass, grammar on the 3rd pass. A more systematic approach will catch more errors. Make sure you use all the review tools available to you if you are using word processing software or if you have access to a checking app such as Grammarly
2. Read it loud
Reading it out loud to yourself will catch spelling errors but also help with sentence structure and flow.
3. Read it backwards
Your mind will often override what your eyes see and will predict the next word (even if it is spelt wrong) and just fill in what it thinks should be there. By reading the sentence backwards it takes each individual word out of context and the brain can’t substitute automatically what it thinks should be there. It will assess each word exactly as it is written, spotting spelling errors.
4. Get Word to read it for you
If you are using Microsoft Word to draft your content get it to read your text aloud with the ‘Read Aloud’ option on the review menu. Or Google a free ‘Text to Speech’ tool online.
5. Change the font.
By changing the font, you disrupt the brain’s familiarity with the text. It won’t be able to substitute what it thinks should be there as opposed to what is actually there.
6. Have a rest
If you have been working hard you are likely to be tired and won’t pick up any errors. No late night proofreading, make sure you are well rested and as alert as possible, have a cup of tea or coffee, the caffeine can help boost your concentration (but not too much as this can reverse the positive effects).
7. Print out your work
Just like changing the font, actually seeing a physical printed copy will help you spot errors. This might not be practical for huge documents but for small pieces it has the added advantage that you can easily add comments or make revisions as you go.
8. Don’t rush
Take your time. If you are proof reading a really long document break it up into sections and give yourself a break between sections. If you have a deadline for publishing make sure you leave ample time for proof reading when managing your workloads.
9. Come back later
If you are the writer and proof reader allow some time between the two activities. The brain needs time to switch into observation mode after it’s been in its creative mode for a while. If you can, leave it overnight before proof reading.
10. Get help
A fresh pair of eyes will always give you a new perspective on your writing and spot mistakes. If someone is reading something for the first time they will be more likely to spot mistakes and could give you some valuable feedback on your content.
By using these tips you will at least minimise the errors in your copy but much of it is about allowing adequate time and making them a habit so that your fabulous content strategy isn’t ruined by typos.
If you would like help in creating a content strategy for your business please do get in touch